– Sao Miguel, Azores, Portugal –
Last April, me and the lovely + talented Jarusha Brown went on an adventure to the beautiful Azores Islands for a photography workshop, and explored the island of Sao Miguel. It was the most incredible trip, and I highly recommend that you visit this magical place!
We flew into the main city Ponta Delgada and spent the first week at the Hotel Solar De Conde in the town of Capelas. This is where the workshop took place and the location was perfect as it offered so many amazing areas to take photos, it was close to town, and it was across the street from the most breathtaking oceanside cliffs. We spent a lot of time there as it was a perfect place for a morning run, or sunrise portrait session. The staff at the hotel are very friendly, and the villas are lovely. The grocery store is a 10 minute walk, so we would stock up on food for the rest of the day. Each room is equipped with a mini kitchen and refrigerator, so we would have lunches on our own private patios overlooking the rolling hills. It was the life!
Not far from Capelas is the little beach town Ribeira Grande. We went here a few times for lunch in the square, some street photography, and the beach. There are a few little cafes that serve traditional Portuguese cuisine, and always the freshest bread and cheese. Capelas is not too far from the main city Ponta Delgada. We would go into the city for happy hour, dinners, to shop, and just to wander the beautiful cobble stoned streets while taking in the architecture of the old cathedrals, horse drawn carriages, and the seaside boardwalk. Our favourite place to eat was Taberna Acor. We went there the first day and went back two more times to eat all the tapas!
Our next stop was the delightful volcanic village of Furnas located east of Ponta Delgada. Here we were treated to rolling tree lined streets, geothermal hot springs at Terra Nostra Park, a picturesque city centre, and the Lagoa das Furnas (Furnas Crater Lake). We experienced what it was like to have our dinner cooked in the ground. This is known as Cozido Nas Caldeiras (cooking in the hot springs).
When visiting Furnas the best place to stay is the Furnas Lake Villas. We were treated like gold, and it was a pleasure spending time with the family who own and operate this spectacular resort. The property consists of 10 Japanese Cedar Villas that have a unique modern design, and feel very cozy with your own fireplace and living area. We loved everything about this place! The food, the people, and the scenery were all incredible.
Our next leg of the journey brought us back to the coast near our favourite beach town. This time we stayed at the Santa Barbara Eco-Beach Resort. This is also a “must stay at” if you are traveling to the Azores. This place had the most stunning view, and the sushi is the best on the island! With an outdoor pool overlooking the ocean it doesn’t get any better. We didn’t want to leave!
We spent most of our days driving around the island and seeing all of the sights. When you go, be sure to explore all the little seaside towns including Ferraria where you can visit the seaside spa Termas de Ferraria, and wade in more geothermal hot springs while enjoying the epic views of the black rocky coastline. Another favourite was the black sand beach and town of Mosteiros. Amazing scenery and a lovely little town to walk through. We went several times on the trip. Other main attractions include the Lagoa do Fogo, Sete Cidades, the tea plantation Cha Gorreana , and the Arruda Pineapple Greenhouse.
There was endless epic scenery to take in at every corner of this majestic island. The overall experience was so wonderful and I would go back again in a heartbeat. If you have any questions about visiting the Azores please feel free to send me a message! Thank-you to my amazing travel buddy Jarusha for driving us around the island like a rockstar and eating all the cheese, and drinking all the green wine with me!
Now I am getting ready for the next big adventure for 2018 which will be The Philippines and Vietnam this April. Stay tuned!